Posed with the query, “what to do with quince”, I called my brother who admitted he wasn’t terribly experienced with this fruit. Jason suggested I consult the web, do a little research on quince butter in particular. Quince butter does indeed exist and seems to be the easiest and most common use; simply boil your quince with sugar for quite awhile, press through a sieve and you’re left with a spread the consistency of applesauce. I, however, was dreaming of pretty pink jelly.
Without luck, I tried to find an old cookbook sent to me by an Auntie in the UK – I knew there was a quince jelly recipe to be had in it. Quince is naturally high in pectin, making it perfect for jellies and jams. Once cooked, this pale yellow fruit turns an orange-red and its tart, chalky taste sweetens.
The scent of not quite an apple, not quite a pear and a dose of perfume started to emerge from the fruit after a day of resting on my countertop. Blog posts and recipes addressed the quince’s intoxicating scent and its ancient mystery. Pairing suggestions ranged from sweet to savory; pork, lamb and cheese were the most common. Other cooking methods included poaching with maple syrup or used as the base for a spicy chutney.
With a rich history including possible references in the Bible, ancient Greek weddings and Roman cookbooks, I am suddenly in love with this uncommon fruit. The pink jelly of my dreams materialized and we ate it with a hard cheddar. My daughter requested clotted cream and scones, for which I went knocking on Chef Thierry Delourneaux’s door. He graciously obliged with this recipe for perfect scones that would make my British in-laws proud. Thank you so very much Chef!
You can read about Chef Thierry’s stunning Rhubarb Dessert here.
Simply boil the quartered quince (seeds, skin and all) until it’s very tender, mashing it as it cooks. You will have a put of mushy quince and out of the mouth of babes, my kid said it looked “kind of awful”. Using a jelly bag, cheese cloth or a fine sieve you let the juice drip out of the pulp overnight. Finally, you cook the juice with almost equal parts of sugar (just less than one cup sugar per cup of juice). Bring it to a boil to dissolve the sugar, reduce heat, skimming off the foam periodically.
Check for consistency change by placing a bit of jelly on a plate; push it gently with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. I had just enough for one jar, but if you have a greater quantity be sure to have sterilized jars ready to go for canning.
Perfect Scones – Chef Thierry Delourneaux
600grs all purpose flour
34grs baking powder
300ml Heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
230grs golden raisins
In a pot, steam raisins with 200mls of heavy cream. When ready spread on a sheet pan and let it cool down.
Sift all dry ingredients, add zests and mix with the paddle into kitchen aid mixer until well incorporated.
Add diced cold butter and mix until no lumps are formed
Add raisins and to the mixture.
Finish by adding egg, vanilla and the remaining heavy cream until dough forms
DO NOT OVER MIX. Chill dough.
Cut to desire size, egg wash and Bake 350F to light brown colour.